HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — Russell Jackson is fighting to keep his Harlem restaurant afloat.
His business on Frederick Douglass Boulevard was vandalized and robbed. Now, his community is coming together to help save the much-loved restaurant.
Like many other businesses in Harlem, Reverence struggled to stay open during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Jackson said because his Harlem community believes in him, he never gave up, and now he’s asking for help to once again remain open.
Jackson is a former contestant on the hit reality show “Iron Chef America.” Everything at his Michelin-nominated restaurant is locally sourced and grown in the region. Jackson described his cuisine as California-inspired and vegetable-forward, with seafood.
Jackson opened Reverence in August 2019. His restaurant is in a 150-year-old historic location with ties to Harlem’s rich arts and music legacy. He survived the pandemic, then took a devastating blow when there was a break-in three weeks ago.
Jackson said the intruder, who remains on the loose, stole all his computer equipment worth thousands of dollars. But Jackson didn’t give up. Instead, he worked harder and said everything changed when he posted his struggle on social media. His neighbors rallied around him, including the Instagram page Save our Storefronts.
Jackson is a board member of One Fair Wage and the Women’s Health Education and Development company in the South Bronx. He’s also a special advisor to the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
Jackson said he prides himself on being a small business owner who promotes fine dining with a touch of community, culture, and soul. He planted a Meyer lemon tree when he first opened Reverence. Unfortunately, it was damaged during the break-in. Now, it’s sprouting again — a sign he hopes that his business will bounce back.
Jackson said his eventual goal is to open even more restaurants in the Harlem community. To help, visit his GoFundMe page.